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World

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: George W Bush sourd aux critiques contre sa guerre

by Jacques Coubard

Criticism of George W Bush’s War Falls on Deaf Ears

Translated Wednesday 25 July 2007, by Emma Paulay

USA. The American president dismisses any ideas to change strategy in the Iraqi conflict, despite growing pressure from members of the Republican party.

Despite the lack of support from the Republican ranks, despite the polls and failure of his new strategy, George W. Bush remains deaf to demands to put an end to American intervention in Iraq. In Cleveland, on Tuesday, before an audience gathered by an association of regional businesses, the president displayed his understanding of the pessimism which is gaining ground in public opinion. “I fully understand that when you watch the violence on TV every night, people are saying, is it worth it? Can we accomplish an objective?” But his reply is to continue with the “war against terrorism” to safeguard the territorial integrity of the country and to be certain that “Al Qaeda doesn’t gain a safe haven.”

Success or failure in sending additional troops

Nothing really changes in the presidential speeches, if only, to gain time, a call to wait for the report that General Petraeus and the Ambassador of Baghdad will present to Congress on 15 September on “the success or failure” of sending additional troops. Bush jumps ahead of the report by referring once again to the “progress” that has been made. The delay is pulled out of the hat just as the Senate is about to re-examine the requests to increase the budget for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Democrats would once again like to link the vote to a withdrawal program, for which they did not obtain a sufficient majority to cancel the President’s veto during the last debate.

It would appear however that the defections of nine Republican senators will not be enough to obtain the 60 votes necessary, as they have announced that they will not approve a withdrawal program, but will only demand a change of strategy which could meet with the approval of both parties. As proposed by the Iraq work group formed by the Republican Baker and the Democrat Hamilton last December. Their 79 recommendations, essentially based on an understanding with Iraq’s neighbouring countries, to obtain a withdrawal in 2008, were rejected by the White House.

Since then, promises linked to the sending of additional troops have evaporated and the polls of the last few weeks indicate that less than 30% of those questioned agree with George Bush’s policies. The Republican senators, whose term ends in September 2008, are extremely worried.

Bush, who cannot stand for re-election, feels that he has more than a year in front of him and can therefore carry on with his war in the absence of any credible alternative proposed by the two Democrat presidential candidates, whether it be Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. He does not fear Congress’ campaign of accusation – impeachment – led by pacifist groups who claim not only his responsibility in the war but also collateral damage caused by the sentencing of Lewis Libby for perjury and hiding evidence. The latter’s sentence was commuted by Bush to save the complicity of the White House in this affair which has put the spotlight back on the lies about weapons of mass destruction.

The pacifists, along with Cindy Sheehan – who is threatening to stand against Nancy Pelosi in California because the latter has broken her promise to fight against the war – have undertaken a campaign which should end in a march in Washington on 23 July. The tension will continue to mount and Iraq will be at the centre of the electoral campaign, starting with the nomination of the candidates which takes place this summer.


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